Hospital visits spike for children swallowing batteries, toys


HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Officials at Penn State Hershey Medical Center are encouraging parents to watch for choking or swallowing hazards

Amy Bollinger is the manager of pediatric trauma and injury prevention at the hospital. She says there has been an increase in children swallowing small objects.

“The problem has doubled in the past 10 years,” Bollinger said. “Kids put everything in their mouths. That is how they explore the world.”

Bollinger says more gadgets and technology have pieces that can become a potential hazard.

“Button batteries, magnets are things that are really dangerous to small children,” she said. “Things can really become complicated or even worse.”

Bollinger says acid from button batteries burn a hole or otherwise the small intestine and other 
internal areas.

Emergency doctors are also seeing more cases where small and powerful magnets are swallowed.

“Those magnets migrate to one another inside their intestines,” said Bollinger. “When that happens, they can pinch intestinal tissue and cut off the blood supply to that area and cause severe pain.”

Bollinger says it’s important to make sure that all small items, especially in an older sibling’s room, are stored away. She also recommends that if a small toy breaks, leaving tiny parts or pieces, all of it should be thrown away.

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